Dr. Timothy Morgan is new head of Mental Health Unit; Dr Thomas reassigned
The Ministry of Health is placing more focus on providing mental health services in the regions where most people are affected and it has given this task to Dr. Timothy Morgan, who has been serving as the Coordinator of the Mental Health Unit.
He replaces Dr Util Thomas as the Director of the unit. Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on Tuesday confirmed that Dr. Thomas has been reassigned to the Enterprise Health Centre, East Coast Demerara, following a reevaluation of the work of the unit.
Dr. Morgan was the Best Graduating student among the batch of Guyanese doctors that returned to the country in 2013 after studying in Cuba for six years.
The Health Minister said that Dr. Morgan has more knowledge of psychiatry and mental illness while noting that Dr. Thomas’ reassignment will allow her to utilise her skills better.
He highlighted that suicide remains a “big problem” for Guyana but there are more cases in Regions Two, Three, Five and Six. As such, the Health Minister emphasised that there needs to be an “adequate focus” on providing sound mental health services there.
To achieve the new mental health vision of the ministry, Dr. Anthony said that Dr. Morgan will now lead that charge.
“A lot of these cases happen outside of Georgetown and we have a unit currently that is more centralised.
“…we thought that it’s important to decentralise the unit and make sure people function where the problem exists,” the Health Minister said in response to questions from the News Room.
Guyana is among the 20 countries in the world that still considers suicide a crime, with suicide attempts being punishable through fines and imprisonment; efforts are being made to change this.
The Health Ministry offers services at its Mental Health Unit at Quamina Street, Georgetown from 08:00hrs to 16:00hrs on weekdays. There is also the recently launched toll-free 655-SAFE (655-7233) hotline through which persons can access counselling services.
If you or anyone you know is feeling depressed and possibly contemplating suicide, please call the Guyana Inter-agency Suicide Helpline which operates 24 hours and is organised by the Guyana Police Force. Telephone -223-0001, 223-0009, 223-0818 Cellphone – 600-7896, 623-4444.